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Managing High Performers

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses best practices for managing high-performing employees, including:

  • Providing structure, guidance, and coaching to help high performers reach their full potential
  • Avoiding taking high performers for granted and ensuring they have a clear career path
  • Setting high expectations and providing critical feedback when necessary
  • Compensating high performers appropriately, even if it means paying them more than the manager
  • Recognizing and playing to the strengths of high performers, rather than trying to make them excel at everything
  • Addressing any behavioral issues with high performers early on
  • Identifying when a high performer has stopped growing and may need a new role or direction

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Managing High Performers

1. What are the two main reasons why there is less written about managing high performance compared to managing low performance?

  • High performance is less common than low performance, as high performers usually get promoted to roles with higher expectations
  • Most managers mismanage high performers or don't really manage them at all, so there are fewer managers who know how to effectively manage high performers

2. What are some of the potential negative outcomes if high performers are left unmanaged?

  • They may not reach their full potential
  • They may end up in roles with no real responsibility, just "floating around and helping people"

3. Why should managers not be intimidated by managing high performers?

  • Even the best performers need structure and guidance from a coach
  • Doing and coaching are separate skills - a manager can help someone improve without being better than them

[02] Avoiding Complacency with High Performers

1. Why is it important to not take high performers for granted?

  • High performers can make a manager's life easier, but if the manager forgets about them while dealing with other issues, the high performer may end up resigning

2. What is the single most important activity to do with a high performer?

  • Engage in career planning to understand where they want to go and help them get there

3. Why is it important to set clear, differentiated expectations for high performers?

  • High performers should be paid more and have higher expectations than others
  • Many organizations struggle to articulate the gradated expectations above average performance

[03] Providing Feedback and Compensation

1. Why is it important for managers to provide critical feedback to high performers?

  • Weak managers often avoid giving feedback to high performers, either because they don't know how or they fear the high performer will criticize them in return
  • Delaying feedback only makes it worse over time

2. Why should managers be willing to pay high performers "unreasonably" compared to others?

  • Pay people what they are worth, even if it's more than what the manager makes
  • This can actually encourage the right behavior if it's known that top performers get paid more

[04] Recognizing Limitations and Pitfalls

1. Why is it important not to expect high performers to be good at everything?

  • Managers can sometimes try to push high performers to improve in areas that may not be their strengths, which can tank their trajectory
  • It's important to balance their strengths and weaknesses and supplement their deficiencies

2. What is a common pitfall with high performers who are unreasonably pessimistic or stubborn in the face of big goals?

  • They confuse not personally knowing how to do something with the thing not being knowable
  • As they are so used to being right, few people can tell them when they are wrong on this diagnosis

3. How can a manager recognize when a high performer has stopped being a high performer?

  • They may have been promoted into a role above their ability (the Peter Principle)
  • The role may have implicitly become more demanding over time, exceeding their skill level
  • They may simply be performing at expectations in the current role, not growing further
Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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